My opening line on dating apps is always a joke. I pull something out of the person's profile and use it as the basis for something witty. Sometimes (read: many times) these jokes land with a heavy thud. But on other (rare) occasions, they result in an immediate back and forth.
I do enjoy this approach, but it can be time-consuming. On the flip side, some people I know roll out the exact same line for every match to streamline the process. It’s hard to know what strategy actually works.
Research has even been done to try and nail the best technique to open with on a dating app. Largely based on heterosexual exchanges, results have found that simple humour and compliments work well as openers. (Phew, I guess I’m on the right track.)
We spoke with four women who've found a long-lasting relationship on Bumble. Given that ladies have to make the first move on the dating app, we ask for some insight into their openers so we stop getting left on read.
After two years together, marriage and a baby, it's safe to say that Laura must have left a lasting impression when she matched with her now-husband.
First impression: “He was also online on a Saturday night," says Laura. "I was sitting home alone longing for an interesting conversation, but not enough to dress up and put too much effort into it. I invited him for a beer online and we each sat in our living rooms just chatting.”
Opening line: Laura sent a sweet and to-the-point "I like your style”. When her partner returned the compliment, she jumped straight to asking him for that beer.
Becoming more: “I knew we were going to be together when everything we did felt right, and not forced at all," Laura explains. "I was not afraid of texting him, I knew he would reply and not play this push and pull game. I could finally relax and be myself.”
Her advice: "I think the worst opening line is ‘hello’," says Laura. "Like, so little effort, nothing that you can work with. In my experience, random statements work well, like ‘I can’t decide if I like this ice cream flavour better than this other one.'"
It seems that ice cream does work wonders, because that's exactly what Amber opened with when she matched with her partner last year.
First impression: Amber remembers her partner’s profile well. “It was a picture of him with a huge smile on his face and a comment about how he loved laughing,” she says. “He seemed down to earth, genuine and warm.”
A full bio really does make all the difference. In Australia, Bumble users who fill out their profile receive nearly 45% more matches than people who leave it blank. It's definitely worth the time!
Opening line: Amber opted for a tried-and-tested opener, and it went down a treat. “Important test: what’s your favourite ice cream flavour?” she wrote alongside an emoji with a tongue sticking out. "He responded back with a questionable ice cream flavour," says Amber. "We joked back and forth about how it wouldn’t work between us."
She recommends debating something harmless and fun. Plus, her go-to always meant that she could suggest an ice cream date to "settle the debate". Clever stuff.
Becoming more: “Two weeks after meeting, we signed up for salsa dancing classes,” Amber says, recalling how she fell for her partner. “It was out of our comfort zone, but learning something new together (while awkwardly shimmying and shaking) meant for lots of laughs and bonding. I knew then that we’d have lots of adventures and always have each other’s backs!”
Her advice: Amber recommends getting creative with date ideas. “We went on a date to IKEA to get a new bed. It was a disaster but we had a blast," she says. "Dinner and drinks are fun but you get to see a whole other side of someone in a situation like furniture shopping.”
Amber also says our mindset could use some tweaking. Instead of going in hoping they like us, she suggests switching that frame of mind to ‘I hope I like them’.
Do you prefer a low-fuss approach with dating apps? Emily chose a simple route and it paid off.
First impression: Her partner Will’s confidence is what stood out — online and in real life. And it helped that he had a funny profile.
Opening line: Emily sent a simple "hey" with a smiley face. And surprisingly, it did the trick. Despite launching into the chat with a basic move, it marked the beginning of a serious four-year relationship
Becoming more: Thankfully after her minimalist approach, the conversation flowed. It was actually their shared love of the movie Borat that sealed the deal. "When I said it, he cracked up because he was going to suggest Borat but thought it wasn’t 'romantic enough'," Emily says. "That’s when I knew he was the one."
“I think it was also when we realised how compatible we really were with each other,” she says. “We moved in together quite early into the relationship too and that sped up the falling in love process.”
Her advice: Emily stresses how important it is for you to be yourself. “Don’t fake a persona to catch someone's eye. It wastes your time and the other person’s time.”
A year down the track, Steph is glad she ended up messaging her partner Ben a very simple opening line.
First impression: Steph doesn’t really remember what she saw in her partner’s profile — something to keep in mind if you’re always expecting fireworks. “I think I first saw his profile in a late-night swiping haze and then only properly looked at it when we matched,” she says. “He had a picture of himself lying on the ground with a cat, which is what made me decide to message him.”
Opening line: Another simple first line was what ignited this long-lasting romance. Steph just sent 'Ben'. “It was in my low-effort phase of Bumble, so I was testing out just sending their first name as an opener to get the conversation going,” she explains. He replied with “Stephanie”. “My name was Steph on my profile so I replied 'Bold of you to assume my full name is Stephanie' — and then the rest is history.”
Becoming more: Steph realised she was going to be with Ben for a while when she saw that he had a top sheet. But what really mattered was that he was lovely from the get-go, and it dawned on her after about a month of hanging out every single night, that they still were nowhere near sick of each other.
Opening line advice: Steph once had someone ask if her friend was single in one of their first messages. Yikes. Obviously, avoid that one. But she swears by writing a specific message based on their profile — even if it is as simple as their first name!
So the next time you’re having a cheeky swipe, you might want to keep a few of the gems these women have shared from their app heydays. If anything, they've given me hope that eventually the right person will come along and love one of my average opening jokes.